We are not here to support criminals, but to stand against those giving middle finger to SA: Malema
EFF leader Julius Malema said the EFF came to Senekal on Friday “to stand toe-to-toe with racist and white terrorists who think they can use a small town to show a middle finger to the whole country”.
Police had their hands full as different groups descended on the small Free State town while Sekwetje Isaiah Mahlamba, 32, and Sekola Piet Matlaletsa, 44, appeared in the magistrate's court in connection with 21-year old farm foreman Brendin Horner's murder.
Earlier in the day, Free State police announced that the N5 road running through Senekal had been temporarily closed.
Police spokesperson Brig Motantsi Makhele said only motorists leaving Senekal in the direction of Winburg or Bethlehem would be allowed to leave the town.
Addressing supporters outside the court after the bail hearing was postponed to next week, Malema said: “We are here to fight and die for the land. We are willing to fight and die against apartheid, because SA still has got apartheid.
“Apartheid did not end in 1994. Apartheid is showing its true colours today. Those who are rich and privileged are white, those who are poor and rejected are black and African in particular.”
In the morning, tensions were already high as people dressed in EFF uniforms, gathered in the main road throwing rocks, bricks and empty beer bottles at a group who attempted to pass.
A little earlier, the red berets — carrying golf clubs, sticks and knobkerries — shouted “shoot, shoot, shoot,” towards farmers, bikers and members of community.
Just two days earlier, a mass prayer meeting in the town hoped to calm tensions.
The prayer meeting was sandwiched between the two high-profile court appearances: that of a local businessman who faces charges linked to public violence, and that of two men accused of killing Horner.
Pastor John Mathuhle said then they hoped that there would be no confrontations or racial conflict in the town during that appearance.
“The community of Senekal looks after itself. During the drought we worked together to solve the problem.
“We were supposed to stand together against the murder of Horner, but instead of that, this whole thing turned into a racial issue. We are not part of the people calling for war against black and white, but believe that we are beautiful in our diversity,” he said.
But Malema had a much different message on Friday.
“They [white people] are not here for the farm murder, they are here to use this farm murder to address the issue of the land. They think they can use this farm murder to intimidate us and stop talking about the land, to move away from demanding the land,” he said.
“We will never stop talking about the land. We are tired of talking about the land, we want to move into the land, we want to occupy the land, we want to own the land, we want to produce foods for ourselves. Why do you keep on saying white farmers produce food for us? We don't want their food, we want to produce food for ourselves, we got capacity to produce food for ourselves.
“If they want to kill us, let them kill us, let them shoot us now for defending our own right, we are prepared to die. We will never be scared to go anywhere.
Commenting on the court case, Malema said they will never support the men accused of Horner's murder.
“Murder is murder, particularly when you kill innocent people. Today it's a white man, tomorrow you will kill us for disagreeing with us. We have no time for these thugs, we have no time for these criminals.”
He said the families of the accused should know they did not come to the town to support the accused.
“They must never confuse us to be friends of criminality. A revolutionary is not a criminal, a revolutionary does not support criminals, criminals belong in jail.
“We are here because white arrogance displayed itself on this street, we are to confront it toe-to-toe.”
Police minister Bheki Cele on Tuesday, when he visited the Horner family, promised the police would work around the clock to ensure justice for his murder. Later that day he received a memorandum from the farming community at the Meets Agricultural Union Hall.
Farmers alleged that some police officers are involved in criminality in the area.